ASWAN — West Bank

To get to this side of Aswan you will need to hire a felucca from the Corniche which should cost you anywhere between 35 to 50LE for 3 or 4 hours depending on your bargaining skills (pay what you think is a fair price and remember there is a lot of competition for your business). You can take one of the public ferries from the landing south of the governorate building or when the river is low it leaves from just north of the tourist-police station and it is very cheap, around 1LE.

The sights found here are:
Monastery of St Simeon
Tombs of the Nobles
The Mausoleum of Aga Khan

Monastery of St Simeon

Monastery of St Simeon
This monastery also known as Anba Hatre is found on the west bank opposite the southern tip of Elephantine Island. It is one of the best preserved Coptic buildings in Egypt and the views from the monastery are stunning. The monastery looks more like a fortress than a church but it was originally a religious sanctuary to 300 resident monks and 100 or more pilgrims. The monastery was built on two levels, the lower one of stone and the upper level of mud brick. The monastery is surrounded by 10m high walls and originally contained a church, shops, bakeries, offices, a kitchen, dormitories, stables and workshops.

Traveller's Tip

The easiest and possibly the best way to get to St Simeons is by camel. You will find the camels below the Aga Khan’s mausoleum. The ride will cost around 45-55LE. Be sure and negotiate your price before you get on. If you don’t want to ride on a camel you will need to walk the 20-25 minute track uphill.
Tombs of the Nobles

Tombs of the Nobles
The northern hills of the west bank (Qubbet el-Hawwa or Qubbet el-Hawa meaning windy dome) are filled with the tombs of priests and nobles of the Old and Middle Kingdom. You reach the tombs by ferry from Aswan and after a steep climb up a stone stairway you will find the ticket office. Six of the tombs are open to the public at a cost of 30LE. Inside the tombs are decorated with vivid wall paintings showing scenes of everyday life and hieroglyphics detailing the biographies of the tomb owners. The tombs are numbered and those you can visit include:
Tombs 25/26: Sabni and Mekhu
These are the tombs of father(Mekhu) and son(Sabni), both Overseers of Upper Egypt in the 6th Dynasty during the reign of Pepy II. Reliefs on the walls of Mekhu’s tomb record his murder in Nubia and in Sabni’s tomb the pictures tell of his revenge against his father’s murderers.The paintings in this tomb still have their original colours.
Tomb 31: Sarenput II
The next major tomb is that of Sarenput II, Overseer of the Priests of Khnum and Commander of the Garrison at Elephantine from the reign of the 11th Dynasty Amenemhet II. This is one of the best preserved tombs in Aswan with the bright colourings you can still see. It consists of a large chamber with six plain pillars leading to a gallery with six niches of statues of Sarenput. The second chamber which is the burial chamber has four columns and niches decorated with images of Sarenput and his family.
Tomb 34: Harkhuf
Harkhuf was a Governor in the reign of Pepy II in the 6th Dynasty. This tomb has little decoration but is famous for the hieroglyphic texts found to the right of the entrance. The hieroglyphichs include a copy of a letter from the pharaoh who was still a young boy requesting that Harkhuf should hurry to bring the young king a ‘dancing pigmy’ from an expedition to Africa.
Tomb 35: Hekaib (also called Pepinakht)
This tomb was for an overseer of Foreign troops during the reign of Pepy II. The tomb has a columned façade and good reliefs showing hunting and bull-fighting scenes. Hekaib was made a god after his death and there was a shrine to him on Elephantine Island.
Tomb 36: Sarenput I
This tomb was for regional governor, Sarenput I who was the grandfather of Sarenput I1, during the 12th dynasty reign of Sesostris 1. This is a large tomb with decorated pillars showing scenes of the life of Sarenput 1 and his family.

Traveller's Tip

At night the whole cemetery area is floodlit and can be seen from all over Aswan so be sure not to miss this.
The Mausoleum of Aga Khan

The Mausoleum of Aga Khan
This mausoleum is located close to the Monastery of St. Simeon on the west bank of the Nile. It was built by the widow of Mohammed Shah Aga Khan who was the spiritual leader of the Ismailis, a Shiite sect and until her death she placed a red rose there every day. The Mausoleum is no longer open to the public.

Traveller's Tip

Even though this monument is no longer open to the public the view from here is fantastic. You have a panoramic view of Aswan in all directions.